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Latest UCC News

Missouri father of five marks three years in Sanctuary as allies advocate for his freedom Valarie Kaur to give 38th annual Everett C. Parker Lecture online Oct. 15
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    About the series:
    HIV and Faith in Resilience and Renewal,
    Conversations on the Legacy and Future of the U.S. Faith Response to HIV & AIDS
    This series, developed by the US HIV and AIDS Faith Coalition (USHAFC), will explore the 40 year legacy of U.S. faith communities toward ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It will feature conversations with a variety of leaders from faith-based organizations, houses of worship, community organizations and government agencies who will address the intersections of race, class, gender, sex, sexuality, and religion in the history of the HIV response in the U.S., and identify lessons learned, offer insights, and share their vision for what will be needed to end the epidemic. The event will center the commentary of faith actors from multiple faith traditions and practices, people living with HIV, and HIV practitioners who have been involved in HIV/AIDS advocacy since the beginning of the epidemic.
    The format will include a conversation, guest responders to the conversation, and discussion/Q&A with the webinar audience. The series is currently scheduled to run from July 29 until World AIDS Day, December 2020.
    Sunday, August 30, 2020, 5:00 - 6:00 PM Eastern U.S.
    A Conversation with Khadijah Abdullah and Rev. Edwin C. Sanders


    Past Webinars:
    Sunday, August 30, 2020
    National Faith HIV & AIDS Awareness Day,
    A Conversation with Khadijah Abdullah and Rev. Edwin C. Sanders
        Moderator: Ulysses Burley III
        Responders: Bhikkhu Sāgarānanda Tien and Vanessa Johnson
    Wednesday, July 29, 2020
    Prayer and Engaging the Black Church,
    A Conversation with Pernessa Seele and Cary Goodman
    This webinar series kicked-off with a conversation between long-time HIV activists Pernessa Seele and Cary Goodman of the Balm in Gilead. Pernessa is the founding CEO of the Balm and Cary has served for many years as the Balm’s Program Director. They will talk about the impact of the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of HIV and their vision for the role of the Black Church for ending the epidemic.

    About the US HIV & AIDS Faith Coalition
    The US HIV & AIDS Faith Coalition is composed of people of faith, faith leaders, people living with HIV and people working in the HIV and AIDS response working together to develop and implement strategies to strengthen the faith response to HIV the toward ending the epidemic.

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    COVID-19 Special Issue
    Mind, Body, Spirit: Linking Lives for Health and Wholeness
    The Wellness Ministries of the UCC Newsletter
    (formerly The Faith Community Nurse Health Ministry Newsletter)

    April 6, 2020, Vol. 5 Issue 3

    continents-28616_1280.pngTHE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) is now a worldwide pandemic.  This Special Issue to the UCC Wellness Ministries Newsletter is entirely focused on responses to the Corona Virus (COVID-19).  As the course of this virus has evolved, health and wellness ministries and faith community nurses in local congregations, associations, and conferences are providing accurate health information and participating in virtual-based worship and pastoral care support to communities.  The intent of this Special Issue is to compile various sources of information that may be helpful in your wellness ministries and your personal care. 

    United Church of Christ (UCC) Resources:  
    The national UCC website has a portal devoted to COVID-19, Coronavirus and the Church. The web page contains information that all settings of the United Church of Christ – local churches, associations, conferences, and national ministries – have contributed to and may find useful. Resources also come from ecumenical partners and respected health organizations.  Categories include:

    • Help for Churches in Responding Immediately
    • How to Offer Worship Online
    • Lessons on Ministry during a Disaster
    • COVID-19 Daily Briefing from Disaster Ministries
    • Suggestions for Talking to Children
    • Legislative Updates (Families First Coronavirus Response Act and Summary)
    • Statements by Church Leaders
    • UCC News Articles
    • General Resources - and Separating Fact from Fiction
    • Avoiding Scams

    Other responses of national UCC staff to provide timely information includes a pastoral letter and a daily briefing:

    Updates will be made as circumstances change. 

    Virtual Worship:  The United Church of Christ's Justice and Local Church Ministries has created a valuable resource in the pandemic that has information related to virtual worship and music, technology and "social distancing" options, copyright issues for virtual worship.

    UCC Congregations, Associations, and Conferences:  The responses of local churches and conferences to the pandemic have been diverse and creative with tips on virtual worship, information related to keeping connected during social distancing, food programs for children, and pastoral care approaches. 

    Churches have created contact lists for deacons and health and wellness committee members to connect with designated parishioners (the elderly, those living alone, and those living with chronic illness or disabilities) through phone calls, texting, and emails.  Churches have created suggested questions for these contacts and mechanisms to assess for concerns and how to share information with pastors when necessary.   One church formed a group for those who live alone to connect by Zoom once each week; it is called Chat and Checking In.  Other churches have changed their visitation ministries to card ministries and found ways to provide grocery delivery or meals to the elderly or those who are in high-risk groups.  Check your UCC conference website for similar information or contribute information to be posted to assist other congregations.  Here are additional resources found on two conferences’ websites for you:

    The Southern New England Conference (SNEC) (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut) has developed a Corona Virus page on their conference website: that includes pastoral care for self and others, resources for youth, children and families, and worship and nurturing community on line. 

    The Southern Conference (North Carolina and Eastern Virginia) is holding twice-weekly Zoom webinars for conference ministers; the next will be a Maundy Thursday worship followed by these topics: web and digital strategies, creative worship, mental health, scams and predators, and human trafficking.

    • The Southern Conference also offers resources related to prayer practices during this pandemicMindfulness, meditation and prayer are ways to focus and root the mind in the present moment leading to clarity, inner peace, reduction of stress and healing on all levels. Different ways to pray include using prayer beads, scripture and prayer books to receive help and answers, reduction of stress and healing of the mind, body and soul.
    • The United Church of Chapel Hill (UCCH) in the Southern Conference has posted other links for parents on how to talk with children about COVID-19:

    HomeOffice.jpgWeb-based COVID-19 related Health Information
    These Web-based Resources related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) can provide ongoing updates.

    Web-based Mental Health Information

    National Life- and Helplines

    RainbowFieldwithPerson.jpgCare for Yourself
    We are grateful to each of you for extending aid, support, and comfort to others during this challenging time.  As you care for others, we pray that you will also take time to care for yourselves.  One way is to intentionally “unplug” for 15 - 30 minutes each day.  Turn off the TV’s constant Breaking News and defer looking at the incoming email news update alerts.  Instead, use time each day to rest, listen to favorite music, read a chapter in a novel or spiritual text, take a short walk outside, look at family or travel photos, read to a child, watch the birds at a feeder, work in your garden, call a friend, send someone a hand-written card, or close your eyes and slowly breath in prayerful meditation. Whatever you choose, take time to nourish your mind, body, and spirit with intentional self-care.

    Contact us: Alyson Breisch and/or Deb Stankiewicz



  • Witness for Justice (WFJ) is a weekly editorial opinion column for public distribution which identifies timely or urgent justice issues. WFJ is a theologically based perspective founded on historic commitment to justice and peace of the United Church of Christ.

    View past Witness for Justice columns before June 2018 via the Witness for Justice archive.

  • In 1987, the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries (UCBHM), the UCC Office for Church in Society (OCIS) and the UCC Council for Health and Human Service Ministries (CHHSM) collaborated with one another to form UCAN, a loosely formed network within the UCC.

    In 1993, Affirming Persons, Saving Lives (APSL) was created, a groundbreaking curriculum for AIDS awareness and prevention education. In that same year, UCAN received the National AIDS Interfaith Network's Special Award for Outstanding Curriculum Development for APSL. 

    In 2005 UCAN's recommitmented to promote awareness and offer technical assistance to racial/ethnic minority constituencies throughout the country, who are now among the highest risk group for HIV transmission.

    UCAN Inc. acquired its own IRS 501(c)(3) status in 2008, in order to more effectively and efficiently carry out its mission, yet also maintain strong service ties to UCC's global community.

    The Founding of UCAN

    In January 1989, the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries (UCBHM), the UCC Office for Church in Society (OCIS) and the UCC Council for Health and Human Service Ministries (CHHSM) co-sponsored a UCC AIDS Ministry Consultation attended by 33 UCC clergy and lay members with extensive, firsthand experience in HIV and AIDS ministry.  The group included persons with HIV and AIDS, family members, pastors, counselors, AIDS service providers, educators and chaplains with rural, suburban and urban perspectives.  The Consultation was initiated under the inspired leadership of the Rev. Dr. William R. "Bill" Johnson, UCBHM Secretary for AIDS Programs and Ministries Coordination.

    A Consultation report entitled, AIDS, Where We Live, set forth the Consultation's recommendations to the whole church and was sent to UCC Executives and Conference Ministers.  One thousand copies of the report were  also distributed at the UCC's 17th General Synod meeting in Fort Worth, Texas (June 1989).

    The other important outcome from the Consultation was the creation of the United Church of Christ AIDS/HIV Network (UCAN), which participants in the Consultation had covenanted together to do.  An Ad Hoc Leadership Team was formed whose primary task was to review the report of the Consultation and oversee UCAN preparations for GS17, including preparation of two General Synod resolutions called for by the Consultation.

    UCAN Begins Its Work

    The Ad Hoc Leadership Team wrote and submitted two resolutions which were adopted by General Synod 17 (GS17).  One resolution called for a UCC AIDS discrimination audit and endorsement and the other called for the enactment of the Ten Principles for the Workplace.  In addition to the resolutions, UCAN members raised HIV/AIDS concerns during the synod "Speak outs", advocated continued commitment to the UCBHM AIDS Program, made and hung a banner in the Synod arena declaring "The Body of Christ is Living With AIDS" and made available UCC AIDS Memorial Panels on which delegates and visitors were invited to inscribe the names of loved ones living with HIV/AIDS or in memory of those who had died.  UCAN members also engaged in many hours of pastoral and educational conversations with GS17 delegates and visitors. 

    In his closing remarks, retiring UCC President Avery D. Post observed that although the two resolutions were the only AIDS-related items on the Synod agenda, AIDS was clearly the most important issue at GS17.  UCAN's consciousness raising efforts were also reflected in the synod's spontaneous decision to institute a one-day blood drive among delegates and visitors to replenish the blood supply in Fort Worth which had reached dangerously low levels because local citizens feared they would contract AIDS by giving blood.

    UCAN Develops a Plan

    In September 1989, a new Ad Hoc UCAN Leadership Team was constituted to design and implement a UCAN development plan.  The Development Plan identified all members of the United Church of Christ as its constituents under the reasoning that, whether conscious of it or not, all are affected by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) pandemic.  The plan said,

    While UCC members with HIV/AIDS and their loved ones are most directly affected, many UCC members are involved in HIV/AIDS care-giving, counseling, education, service provision and public policy advocacy. Those UCC members whose only awareness of HIV/AIDS comes from the public media have been affected by that awareness.  As the pandemic continues, United Church members who think they are not affected will become aware of countless ways the HIV/AIDS pandemic is having an impact on their lives as citizens and as members of the Body of Christ called to respond to the imperatives of the Gospel.  UCAN, therefore, seeks to unite in covenant:

    • People living with HIV/AIDS
    • Families and Friends
    • Lay and Pastoral Caregivers
    • Health Care and Social Service Providers
    • Educators, Concerned Parents and Youth
    • All United Church members committed to HIV/AIDS Ministries.

    The plan recognized that if the UCC was to effectively respond to the growing HIV/AIDS pandemic, it would need to find a way to mobilize the whole church, empowering the centers of ministry, namely, local congregations.  It called for UCAN to meet with leadership at all levels throughout the church, focusing their attention on key Conference, Association and local church leadership, clergy and lay.  UCAN worked collaboratively with UCC Resource Centers to create a library of HIV/AIDS related resources that could be easily accessed by local church leadership.   It worked to create Conference and Association based networks of mutually supportive persons committed to ministering to one another, respecting the autonomous decision-making of each entity.

    UCAN also endeavored to bring together already existing UCC HIV ministries, such as local Task Forces to become part of the UCAN covenantal community as UCAN Partners in Ministry.  UCAN became a clearinghouse for resources developed by these Task Forces, sharing them throughout the UCC.

    The concept of an ad hoc nature of the Leadership Team was also intentional. Each Leadership Team was constituted for a time and purpose appropriate to the tasks needed to be done.  The ad hoc leadership design was intended to minimize entrenched, ineffective or uncommitted leadership and to allow individuals, already under the stresses of the pandemic, to be supported, guarding against "burn out."  It also allowed for the equally important emergence of new people and new ideas. 

    As a UCC national, covenantal community, UCAN worked to break down barriers that caused persons affected by HIV/AIDS to experience isolation from their sisters and brothers in the community of faith.  It consistently broke the silence about HIV/AIDS wherever it existed within the church, with words and deeds that increased understanding, nurtured hope, offered encouragement and provided comfort.

    UCAN Implements the Plan:  1990-2002

    From 1990-2002, UCAN built its membership, led retreats for people living with HIV or AIDS, created resources, developed training modules, initiated education and prevention efforts, conducted workshops, hosted exhibits, provided leadership at ecumenical and interfaith tables, advocated for strong public policy and kept the work of responding to the pandemic ever before the UCC.  It was during this time that the UCC's HIV/AIDS curriculum, Affirming Persons, Saving Lives (1993), was published by UCBHM.  UCAN was instrumental in its development, promotion and implementation.

    General Synod and National Youth Events

    Much of the visible work of UCAN throughout the 1990s took place during General Synod meetings.  UCAN was present at each General Synod (1991 – 2001), where they consistently had a table/booth, which included safer-sex products, CDC brochures and many other supplies.  UCAN also facilitated workshops on sex and AIDS education, held after-hours programs and social gatherings at these General Synod meetings.

    At General Synod 19 (1993, St. Louis, MO), the newly published Affirming Persons, Saving Lives curriculum was enthusiastically promoted (see section below on Affirming Persons, Saving Lives curriculum).

    At General Synod 23 (2001, Kansas City, MO), a resolution entitled, "The Epidemic of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome on the Continent of Africa," was passed.  This resolution recommended information-sharing with local churches, Associations, and Conferences on how the United Church of Christ is responding to the AIDS crisis in Africa and how these groups may further assist this response.  It also encouraged advocacy and support for those affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa, and called for meaningful and prayerful dialogue concerning HIV and AIDS with our partner churches on the African continent.

    In addition to General Synod, UCAN was also present at several National Youth Events, at which they led various workshops on safer-sex education.  David Kamens, a young adult living with AIDS, led many of these workshops at National Youth Events and General Synods.  

    Affirming Persons, Saving Lives Curriculum

    A significant part of UCAN's work during the 1990s was the development of the Affirming Persons, Saving Lives curriculum.  Work began on this curriculum in 1990 and it was published in 1993.

    Affirming Persons, Saving Lives is the first comprehensive curriculum for AIDS prevention published for Christian churches. With lesson plans for every age—adults, teenagers and children—the curriculum was designed to help churches become learning centers to protect lives threatened by the AIDS epidemic. It is intended for use in Christian education and other settings and includes Bible studies, prayers and theological reflections. With two videos and 1,000 pages of lesson plans and fact sheets, the curriculum is a complete resource for AIDS education. Teachers using the curriculum do not need any special training.

    This curriculum was created by UCAN and the HIV/AIDS Ministry Program of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries.  Experienced AIDS educators, Cynthia A. Bouman and the Rev. William R. Johnson, Ed. D., are the co-authors.  United Church of Christ members living with HIV and AIDS, youth, Christian educators, AIDS ministers, parents, parish clergy and church school teachers also helped develop this resource.  Throughout its development (1990 – 1993), extensive field testing took place at national consultations, regional church meetings and in the church schools of several UCC congregations. 

    The curriculum was launched at General Synod 19, with a big display at UCAN's booth.  Initial promotion was also done through advertisements in the United Church News and through the United Church Resources Warehouse.  In addition, visits were made to Conference meetings and Youth Gatherings, encouraging its use. 

    A Turning Point

    By 2002 there were significant developments in the fight against HIV.  Advances in medical science offered treatment that could keep HIV from replicating in the body.  For persons living with HIV able to access these medications, they added both quantity and quality to their lives.  As more became known and treatments improved and were more widely available in the U.S., the sense of urgency and energy for response began to wane.  It became more difficult to raise funds and the national setting of the UCC experienced budget reductions, creating a funding gap.  At the same time, HIV continued to spread both in the U.S. and throughout the world, with the poor in developing countries, especially on the continent of Africa, hit the hardest.  In the U.S., infection rates were increasing at alarming and disproportionate rates in communities of color, especially in African America/Black and Latino/a communities.  UCAN had reached a turning point.

    New leadership was welcomed in the Wider Church Ministries office for HIV and AIDS ministries (Health and Wholeness Advocacy,) in the person of the Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, accompanied by an increased sense of urgency to work with people of color congregations and communities.  During this period of transition, The Rev. Yvette Flunder served as a special consultant, working with local congregations, Conferences and Associations on their outreach to communities of color. 

    New Leadership with a Vision

    In 2005, after consulting with several UCC local church leaders whose congregations had successful HIV/AIDS programs, a new initiative emerged, centered on the increasing number of HIV/AIDS affected groups within communities of color throughout the United States.  The UCAN "brand" was lifted-up again at GS25 with the first UCAN dinner, keynoted by the Reverend Adora Iris Lee, a Global Ministries missionary who was coordinating HIV ministry in southern Africa.  In August 2005, Rev. Schuenemeyer convened leaders from five significant UCC local church programs serving communities of color hard hit by HIV/AIDS.

    The participants in this meeting began crafting a vision for a UCAN Faith Community Project which initially would develop a population based deliverable to address and promote HIV/AIDS outreach by UCC Congregations on behalf of people of color.  It was further determined that the Project would seek to build capacity for UCC HIV/AIDS outreach programs in the following population order:

    • African American/Black Congregations,
    • Latino/a Congregations,
    • Asian Pacific Islander Congregations
    • First Nation/Native American Congregations
    • Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM)

    The intention of the prioritizing is to work inclusively with all communities, even beyond the list above, but also to recognize that limited time and resources must be focused to enable critical presence at the point of deepest need.

    The leaders at the August 2005 meeting agreed to serve as the new working group/leadership team for UCAN, in the style of the ad hoc leadership team model of the original UCAN development plan.  They began to promote awareness, and offer technical assistance workshops and consultation in February 2006.  In June of 2006, the new UCAN Leadership Team met in San Francisco for planning at which a new 4 year plan was developed.

    Over the months since then, UCAN has worked to implement their plan.  They conducted a workshop at the United Black Christian's meeting, produced and distributed materials for World AIDS Day, created visibility on a full page ad in UC News (October 2006), and provided leadership in HIV workshops at the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference.

    UCAN Incorporates as a Nonprofit Charitable Organization

    In April of 2007, in order to continue to increase its capacity in the most effective ways, the Wider Church Ministries Board of Directors approved a proposal to create a new 501(c)(3) for UCAN.  UCAN became incorporated as UCAN Inc. and in 2008, gained its official IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit status.  Since then, UCAN has continued to produce regular resources and communications, such as newsletters and World AIDS Day prayers, litanies, etc., and kept its commitment to lead educational workshops.  UCAN also participated in local events around the country, such as the New York State Department of Health Faith Forum, and convened other events, including the gathering of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and National Black Leadership Coalition on AIDS (in New York).  In June 2008, UCAN demonstrated their commitment to the use of culturally/linguistically appropriate resources by publishing a Spanish language version of their HIV education cards, "Why Use Condoms".  

    UCAN has contributed to the rich legacy of the UCC and includes prophetic and courageous leadership at every stage of this disease.  It is a legacy of finding new ways to bring critical presence where it is needed most and working creatively and collaborative with others to realize a vision of health and wholeness.  That said, the pandemic demands resources and capacity that far and away outpaces what UCAN is currently able to do.  The mission is as urgent today as it ever has been—the work of enabling, empowering and resourcing local church leaders and their congregations, to build their ability and capacity to respond to HIV and AIDS in their own communities, as well as, participating in and supporting global efforts.  

  • The mission of UCAN (The United Church of Christ HIV and AIDS Network) is to build a network of people, congregations and organizations within and beyond the United Church of Christ for care giving, education and prevention in response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic by:

    • Providing technical assistance to help congregations and other settings of the church start and build their capacity and programs;
    • Offering training in the use of the UCC's comprehensive HIV and AIDS curriculum, Affirming Persons, Saving Lives, as well as other HIV and AIDS educational resources;
    • Giving leadership for education and information on public policy concerns; and
    • Prioritizing its work to bring critical presence to those most affected by HIV and AIDS in the United States and throughout the world.


  • UCAN Inc. is the United Church of Christ HIV and AIDS Network,
    a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.


    Board of Directors Regional Staff
    National Staff
    June Rovero

    Marcia Bentley

    Ann Kiernozek*

    James Moos* **
    Executive Minister
    Wider Church Ministries

    Joyce Bathke**

    Bryan Sickbert**

    Joseph Shore-Goss

    Marie Siroky

    Anthony Sullivan, Jr.

    * ex officio, with vote

    ** UCC Board Representative

    Pamelajune Banks-Anderson
    St. Stephen's Community Church United Church of Christ
    Lansing, MI

    Barbara Baylor
    Minister for Health Care Justice
    UCC Justice and Witness Ministries
    Cleveland, OH

    Jeffrey Dirrim
    Footsteps United Church of Christ
    Tempe, AZ

    Chewee Hughley
    The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
    Indianapolis, IN

    Rodney Johnson
    Trinity Church UCC,
    Chicago, IL

    Adora Iris lee
    International HIV Sr. Advisor
    Arlington, VA

    Lizette Merchán
    Community of Hope
    Tulsa, OK

    Joan Rickets
    The Riverside Church
    New York, NY

    Ebony Ross
    Trinity Pentecostal House of Prayer
    New York, NY

    John L. Selders, Jr.
    Amistad UCC
    Hartford, CT

    Anthony W. Sullivan, Jr.
    God Can Ministries UCC
    Chicago, IL

    Gwen Thomas
    Victory UCC
    Stone Mountain, GA

    Lori Tisher
    St. Paul's Community Church
    Cleveland, OH

    Rose Wright Scott
    Victory Christian UCC
    Petersburg, VA

    Michael Schuenemeyer
    Executive Director

    Jim Ebbenga
    Administrative Assistant

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    October 2016, Volume 1, Issue 10

    Mind, Body, Spirit:
    Linking Lives for Health and Wholeness

    The Faith Community Nurse Health Ministry Newsletter

    The month of January, a relative calm period between major events on our church calendar, presents opportunities for life saving health education activities.  The national epidemic of the often deadly use of legal and illegal drugs calls for us to respond.  Here are three companion health education programs you could implement that will benefit families in your congregation and community.

    01a-NatlDrugAlcoholWeek.png2017 NATIONAL DRUG & ALCOHOL FACTS WEEK (January 23rd-January 29th) links students with scientists and other experts to Shatter the Myths,℠about drugs and alcohol that teens get from the internet, social media, TV, movies, or from friends.  Looking nation-wide at reported past month drug use among high school seniors, more than 5% misuse prescription drugs; more than 20% smoke marijuana, and 35% use alcohol.  When teens are given the scientific facts about drugs, they can be better prepared to make good decisions for themselves and they can share that information with others.    An online guide, provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, gives you everything you need to plan, promote, and host a program, including free materials for teens.

    The home page also provides links to partner organizations and activities. Under the Partner Spotlight area there is a listing of Our Partners – 46 other organizations working together to address this problem.  All have resources!   

    One partner organization that I know makes a difference is The Herren Project [THP]. Their Project Purple Initiative empowers youth to stand up to substance abuse, promotes positive decision making, and encourages them to make a difference in their communities.  The program has grown out of the life experience of Chris Herren, a kid who grew-up as a star basketball player and then went on to play college and professional basketball, marry and have children.  The continuing use of alcohol and then drugs became the focus of his life and he lost everything.  Chris regained sobriety 8 years ago and has rebuilt his life with a passion to alert others to the dangers and provide them with assistance in taking the first steps toward recovery and a life of sobriety.  If you watch his Note to Self that was shown on CBS This Morning or Chris Herren – Unguarded you will understand why his telling of his story has such a powerful effect on youth, as well as adults.

    01b-Rx.pngBrown Bag Medicine Reviews

    A Brown Bag Review of medicines encourages people to put all of their medicines and herbal supplements into a bag and bring them to you for review. The goal is to determine what medicines a person is taking, what he or she knows about the medicine, and how they are taking them. The process can identify medicine errors and misunderstandings that have a possible negative effect on health. Information is available on how to conduct a Brown Bag Medicine Review. You could plan it as a special event, part of another event such as a health fair, and/or as an ongoing service. Another tool to Help Patients Remember How and When to Take Their Medicine assists the person to stay on track and provides documentation to carry with them as they move between their health care providers, including you.

    Safeguarding Medicine in the Home A third step is to provide information on how to Safeguard Medicine in the Home. Two-thirds of teens who report abuse of prescription medicine are getting them from friends, family and acquaintances.  Parents and Grandparents can play a powerful role in preventing teens from obtaining these medicinal drugs.  Provide them with a list of sites in your community where they can safely dispose of unused medications. 


    “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.”  Psalm 98:4   Are you familiar with the Joyful Noiseletter?  Each issue provides funny religious stories free of profanity and blasphemy, plus a page of cartoons that can be used in sermons, church programs, and church bulletins.   In 2014 the newsletter published an article titled The Physically Fit Messiah.  Reading the article will bring a smile to your face as the author reminds us that “Jesus, the healer, was supremely healthy, robust, loving, and joyful”, he walked everywhere and ate primarily a vegetarian diet, and that “Jesus came to us with a message of salvation through both spiritual and physical fitness”.


    Health Education

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.  In addition to various types of individual and communal violence, dangerous and dramatic weather events have also created traumatic situations.  Information on PTSD is available from the National Institute of Mental Health that will help parishioners understand the occurrence of and treatment for PTSD.  Similar information specific to PTSD in Children and Teens is available from the National Center for PTSD.


    03-AdmitOne.pngAdmit One: What You Must Know When Going to the Hospital – But No One Actually Tells You! by Kati Kleber, BSN, RN, CCRN. Kati draws from both the perspective of her experience as a patient and her perspective as a nurse to speak to both providers and potential patients.  She discusses what patients should be aware of and what kind of questions they should ask during pre-hospitalization visits.  This book can help you guide the people you are in ministry with as they face any planned hospitalization.


    03-PackUpYourSorrows.pngPack Up Your Sorrows: A story of illness, hope, and transformation is the story of singer, songwriter Meg Hutchinson’s journey as she explores the reality of living a healthy life while coping with mental illness. Meg weaves her personal experience with Bipolar Disorder between conversations with researchers, advocates and leaders in the field of mental health including Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, Dr. Richard Davidson and Dr, Nassir Ghaemi.  View the trailer to see if your congregation and community would benefit from seeing this movie.


    Continuing Education
    Health Ministers Guide (HMG) – Connecting Science and Community Health provides, in 5 languages, need-to-know information and community interventions. The HMG series provides written information, posters, and variety of materials to get the topical information shared.  It is part of a larger effort to build resilient communities.  Some topics are:  Health Minister’s Guide on Zika and the Zika Action Guide for Health Ministers, Viral Hepatitis – The Silent Epidemic, Bladder Health: What Health Ministers Need to Know, and Seasonal Flu Guide for Faith-Based and Community Organizations.

    This resource has been created because the Partnership Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships “recognizes that Health Ministers are first responders, trusted messengers, accompaniers, and cultural key holders”. We are viewed as “vital actors in an integrated-prevention focused health delivery system”.  It is wonderful to have the importance of this work recognized and supported with materials!!

    04-USAMentalHealthFirstAid.pngMental Health First Aid is a face-to-face public education program that helps parents, first responders, faith leaders, and other people identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use conditions.  There are two 8-hour courses available. One focuses on the care of adults and one focuses on the care of youth ages between the ages of 12 and 18.  Federal grants are now enabling recipients to offer this training at a reduced rate.  Contact Mental Health First Aid instructors in your area for information.  Locate a course near you and ask about rates for faith leaders including you.


    05-StoneSoupfortheCommunity.pngStone Soup for the Community – The Story of a Faith-Based Health Coalition, written by Karen Jo Hahn,  describes the process followed by the Fifth Ward Congregational Health Coalition to Bring “Healing of the Body and Spirit to the Community”.  Formed by three pastors and a faith community nurse in 2000, the Coalition now includes dedicated community leaders and volunteers from 35 different churches and organizations that provide free health and social services for persons in need.   The story of this 15 year journey is both heartwarming and inspiring.  Perhaps it will give you some ideas.  The book may be purchased in paperback for $13.95, in Kindle format for $2.99 or downloaded as a free pdf at the Shalom Path Press bookstore. 

    Informatics: Empowering ePatients to Drive Health Care Reform  explains the phenomenon of the empowered e-patient and the empowered e-caregivers, provides examples, and suggests how we may best assist the people in our congregations as they explore the internet for information.  The equipped, enabled, empowered, and engaged patient (anyone with access to the internet) is becoming a peer, working together with us and other healthcare providers in identifying their healthcare needs and deciding how these needs might best be met.  The article, written by Ramona Nelson, PhD, BC-RN, ANEF, FAAN, was published in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Vol. 21, No.3.


    The Frailty Syndrome: Definition and Natural History  reviews the current state of knowledge regarding the epidemiology of frailty.  It explains the current understanding of the aging process and the severe impact of frailty on older adults, their caregivers, and on society as a whole.  The information will help you identify high-risk individuals, their vulnerabilities and propensity for adverse health outcomes.


    Have questions? Contributions? Ideas for future Issues?

    Please share them with Peggy Matteson, editor of our newsletter.


  • FCN_Manual_Cover.png 

    NOTICE: We are sorry but this resource is currently unavailable. It is in the process of a revision so, please stay tuned for announcements about when the new version will be released.


    Health and Peace,
    Alyson Breisch, MSN, RN
    Faith Community Nurse
    Chair, UCC Wellness Ministries
    Commissioned Minister of Congregational Health

    Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, MDiv
    Minister and Team Leader, Health and Wholeness Advocacy
    Executive Director, United Church of Christ AIDS Network (aka. UCAN)


  • UCAN200.gifFaith-based leadership for ending

    the HIV & AIDS epidemic

    About UCAN

     UCAN News  World AIDS Day


    The TIME to ACT is NOW!

    The United Church of Christ HIV & AIDS Network call on

    Local Churches
    Clergy, and
    Other faith leaders

    Sign-on to the call to action to end HIV & AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.


    Join the National Conversations on HIV:


    TakeSurveyButton.jpgAttention UCC Local Churches!

    Take the UCC HIV Ministries Survey.
    We are eager for your responses!


    Faith on the Fast Track Event

    Resources for World AIDS Day 

    The Rev. Dr. Yvette A. Flunder gives a keynote address at the 2014 White House observance of World AIDS Day.

    The Rev. Dr. Yvette A. Flunder is Sr. Pastor of City of Refuge United Church of Christ in Oakland, CA and Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.

    20141118_WAD2014report_socialmedia_01.png"The Last Climb: Ending AIDS, Leaving No One Behind" This speech by Michel Sidibé (UNAIDS Executive Director) announces the new 95-95-95 strategy for ending the HIV epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.

    "95–95–95 is not just a numeric target. It is a moral and economic imperative." Michel Sidibé

    Get your HIV data

    • United States: http://AIDSVu.org - an interactive online resource for understanding HIV throughout the U.S.
    • Global: http://aidsinfo.unaids.org/ - an interactive online resource for understanding HIV throughout the world.

    UCC Social Policy Statements on HIV and AIDS

    UCC General Synod 17 Resolution: Calling for Comprehensive HIV Prevention in Church and Community

    HIV-related Videos on the UCC YouTube Channel

    National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, March 5-11, 2017

    A video about HIV:


    UCAN is the United Church of Christ HIV & AIDS Network
    A ministry of the Health and Wholeness Advocacy Office
    Justice and Witness Ministries and Wider Church Ministries
    United Church of Christ

    Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, Executive Director
    Phone: 216-736-3217
    Email: schuenem@ucc.org

    UCAN Inc., 700 Prospect Ave E., Cleveland, Ohio  44115-1100